Review: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

 Title: The Snow Child
Author: Eowyn Ivey
Published by Little, Brown and Company, Feb 1, 2012
Hardcover, 389 pages

Starting this review, I’m honestly having trouble putting my thoughts into words. There’s nothing I can say about The Snow Child that even begins to describe how I felt while reading it. It was truly a stunning book.

The Snow Child is about a couple, Mabel and Jack, who married late and unsuccessfully tried to have a child. A few years down the road in 1920, they decide to move to Alaska to build a homestead, to escape their family, which to them is only a reminder of the fact that they couldn’t have children while everyone else could. After they move to Alaska, they start to grow apart, but with the first snow of the season, their love rekindles. They build a little girl out of snow. When they wake up the next morning, their creation is gone, with child-sized footsteps leading away from it and the mittens and scarf that were on the snow child gone. They start to see a little girl running through the woods every now and then. The girl, named Faina, eventually becomes like a daughter to the couple. But is Faina a real person or a magical being?

Loosely based on the Russian fairy tale “Snegurachka” (The Snow Maiden), The Snow Child is absolutely breathtaking. It was one of those books that I just didn’t want to end. Ivey’s descriptions of the Alaskan wilderness, though sometimes brutal, left me chilled throughout the novel. The story is very heartwarming, though, which is quite the opposite of the setting.

I know this is a super short review, but there really isn’t much for me to say about this novel without spoiling the entire thing. So just read it! It’s definitely worth your time!

Judging a Book by its Cover #1

I’m out of town this weekend for a little mini-vacation with my parents. I thought this would be a good time to introduce a new feature I’m planning on doing a couple times a month from now on! Not to say this hasn’t been done by someone else before, but I thought it was appropriate for me.

I’m a graphic design major in college, and so the covers of books are part of what pulls me in. I know that “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but if a book has an absolutely awful cover, there’s probably no chance of me reading it! I like for books (and all things, really) to be visually pleasing. Its part of what makes me pick up something before I buy it, whether it’s a book, a CD, a movie, or even a package of crackers! Good design can make or break a product.

In this new feature, I’m planning on posting covers of several books that intrigue me based on their covers only (no descriptions!). I’ll explain what I like about them, and what makes them have such a great design.

So without further ado, here is the first installment of “Judging a Book by its Cover.” All of these books were on my Good Reads recommended books list.

 White Cat by Holly Black
I see this book every time I’m in Barnes & Noble and I LOVE the paperback cover. (Not so much on the hardback.) I’ve thought about buying it before, I just never have because I’m not sure what it’s about, but the cover is absolutely stunning in person. The dots, the colors, the fonts… Everything just works together SO well and it’s really, really beautiful.

No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel
What’s NOT to love about this cover? I really love the colors that they chose, and the trees are perfection. I love how the text disappears behind them. That gives a three dimensional appearance on an otherwise flat cover. My one nitpick is that I would’ve used the same font on the “N” in “No” as the rest of the cover, because it really sticks out, and not in a good way.

Two more after the “read more!”

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Feature & Follow #2

 

Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and  Allison Can Read.  It’s a great way to find other blogs to follow and help them to find you! Click the picture above for more information!

You can follow me any of the ways featured on the sidebar! Thanks for checking out my blog!

QOTW: Activity! Dream cast your current read.

My current read is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I’m usually more of a YA reader, but this Adult book sounded very interesting. Anyway, I started it last night and it’s very good so far. It’s about a couple, Mabel and Jack, who in 1920 move to Alaska to build a homestead. They were unable to have children, and are now too old to try again. During the first snow of the season, they build a snow girl. The next morning when they wake up, their creation is gone, but they catch glimpses of a child in the forest. Could their snow child have come to life?

I have had trouble picturing the characters, though, because I’ve never been great with casting older characters in my mind. I’ve kind of got a bit of an idea, though.

  

I’m only going to cast the female characters because while I kind of have pictures for the men, no actor that I can think of would fit how I picture them. For Mabel, I can’t help but picture Sissy Spacek. There’s never really a given description of what she looks like, and Sissy Spacek is just who I first thought of, even though she may be a little old for the role. For Esther, one of the few other women in the Alaskan wilderness, and Mabel’s only friend besides her husband, I picked Meryl Streep. She’s just the right amount of crazy to play this part. And for Faina, the snow child, I picture a very young Elle Fanning. She’d definitely be too old to play Faina now, but when she was younger she would’ve been perfect!

What are you currently reading? 

Recently Bought & To-Read

No review today, but I did want to give you a little preview of  what’s coming up, and my thoughts about them!

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
I bought this today! I saw is a while back at Barnes & Noble and absolutely loved the cover. After I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgentern, this was recommended as similar, so I’m super excited to read it!

Posession by Elana Johnson
Also bought this today! I’ve been hearing good things about this book since it was released, so I finally decided to give it a shot! Plus, the sequel, Surrender, comes out soon and I want to be prepared for that!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
I’ve had this one laying around for a while. I actually started it last night, but I wasn’t getting into it all that much. I may put it down for now, but I’ll probably come back to it at some point!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I bought this the day it came out in January 2011. I was SO excited to read it. One of my friends asked to borrow it before I even started it, and she JUST gave it back to me this week, so I’ve definitely got to get going on this one, because I was excited to read it even when I first bought it!

The Great Gatsby Trailer!

I know I’ve already posted today, but I have to post again just to have this slice of awesome on my blog.

The Great Gatsby is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I will admit that I hated it when it was required reading in high school, but I reread it last year, and it’s just stunning. As is this trailer. I was SO excited when I heard that they were making this movie. Leo is gonna be wonderful, as is Carey Mulligan. I can just feel it. I love the Robert Redford version from the 60s, but this one looks like it could be even better! I love this trailer SO much (even though.. is that Kanye I hear? Why?! Where’s the jazz?!), and definitely can’t wait for this movie!

Review: Fairest of All by Serena Valentino

Title: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
Author: Serena Valentino
Published by Disney Press, Aug 18, 2009
Hardcover, 250 pages

I was really looking forward to reading this book, because Snow White is my absolute favorite fairy tale. I love reading / watching anything and everything about Snow White, including the Disney version, which is one of my favorite movies ever.

I was, however, a little bit disappointed with this book. It was featured on a Fairy Tale Retellings shelf at Barnes & Noble in the Young Adult section (where I also picked up Cinder). However, this book is most certainly not the YA I was expecting.

I knew before I bought it that it was published by Disney, since the cover art featured Disney’s Evil Queen. What I didn’t know was just how closely it would stick with the characters that had already been established in the movie.
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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series: Miss Peregrine, Book #1
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books, June 7, 2011
Hardcover, 352 pages

I’ve been planning on reading this book for a long time. I saw it in stores last summer, but I wasn’t sure that I would like it. I flipped through and looked at the pictures, which are real pictures that Ransom Riggs gathered and put in, and they just looked a little bit too creepy for me to enjoy it.

When I started reading Miss Peregrine, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I thought that it would take place in the past and be about all of these strange kids that were in the pictures. I was partly right, but Miss Peregrine ended up being a lot different than I was expecting.
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Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book #1
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends, Jan 3, 2012
Hardcover, 387 pages

Let me just first say that I absolutely LOVE Fairy Tale Retellings. Cinderella as a cyborg?! HECK YES! It was a really intriguing idea, which got me interested in reading the book.

What kept me reading the book, however, was not the fact that Cinder was a cyborg. It was the fact that she was a great character. Marissa Meyer did a fantastic job making her characters relatable AND likable (or unlikable when necessary). Cinder, Iko, Kai, Peony… I could go on and on with all the characters that were well written.

The story was very fast paced and action packed. It kept me reading until the very end, so much so that I didn’t want it to be over. It was, however, a tad bit predictable… I guessed what would happen about 80 pages in, and most of my predictions turned out to be true, and I’m thinking that some of my other predictions will come true in the sequels. The predictability could’ve been on purpose of course—it IS based on a fairy tale, after all—but I felt that it could’ve used a few more twists and turns to throw off the reader a little bit.

I also felt that the world building could’ve been stronger. The book gave surface details of places, but never got into the inner workings of New Beijing and the Lunar Empire. How did these new societies come to be? What happened in World War IV to make the Earth have so few countries? How are there people breathing on the moon without wearing astronaut gear? These are all questions I’m hoping will be answered later on in the series, because this was one of the few weaknesses of Cinder.

All in all, I thought Cinder was a very strong start to what will no doubt be a stunning series. I can’t wait to see what happens to Cinder, Kai, and the rest of the world in the next three books!

Feature & Follow #1

Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and  Allison Can Read.  It’s a great way to find other blogs to follow and help them to find you! Click the picture above for more information!

(P.S. This is supposed to be on Fridays, so forgive me for posting it a little late this week!)

You can follow me any of the ways on the sidebar! Thanks for checking out my blog!

Question of the Week: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

I’d love to go someplace like this for the summer.. Close to the ocean, but not a hot, tropical beach. Somewhere like Maine or Northern California would be great. I love lighthouses! Isn’t that picture gorgeous? I’m not sure where it was taken, but I’d absolutely LOVE to go there.
Where would you vacation?

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Published by Harper Teen, May 1, 2012
Hardcover, 525 pages

Here’s a bit of a newer read than the last review! Insurgent is the sequel to Divergent, which was released in 2011. If you haven’t read Divergent, I highly recommend doing so! I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible for those who haven’t read either of the books.

My friend Haley recommended Divergent to me last summer. I read it right away and fell in love. The characters are extremely well written, the story is enticing, and the writing is phenomenal. I couldn’t WAIT to get my hands on Insurgent. I was counting down the days ever since the release date was announced!

Just to get you up to speed, Divergent is about a girl named Tris Prior, who lives in a future Chicago where the population is separated into factions. When a person turns 16, they take a test to see which faction they are best suited for. Most people just get one faction as their test result, but Tris’ results are inconclusive—making her Divergent, which the government finds dangerous. Throughout the book, Tris must hide her Divergency and go through with initiation with the faction that she chooses. She falls in love with her instructor, Four. Societal problems ensue.

When the latest installment was released, I went to Barnes & Noble first thing that morning, and read about half of it in the first day (and it was finals week… Woops!). Insurgent is just that good.
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